Reading I: Acts 8:5-8, 14-17
Reading II: 1 Peter 3:15-18
GOSPEL: John 14:15-21

The Spirit of Star Wars

“You must go to the Dagobah system. There you will learn from Yoda, the Jedi master who instructed me.” That’s what the ghostly Obi-Wan told Luke in the movie The Empire Strikes Back, sending the young Skywalker on a quest to find a new teacher to guide him. In today’s gospel, Jesus tells his disciples – and us – that the Holy Spirit will be our new guide.

Death Brings Change

Death is a part of human life. We can’t escape it. When we lose someone we love, a part of us dies too. I’m sure this is how the disciples felt when Jesus died. What did his life mean? Was he really the Messiah? Had the time they spent working with him been for nothing? Surely they were questioning this even at the time of his death, for if they had been positive that he was the Christ, would they have abandoned him during his most difficult hour?

But what followed Jesus’ death is the reason we still know about him today. His friends and community of believers did not let him die. They recognized in him the very qualities of God. They knew that he had returned to God. But how would they carry on?

A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Very Much Like Jerusalem

In the movie Star Wars: A New Hope, Luke Skywalker’s mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, was killed during a duel with Darth Vader. Before Obi-wan willingly gave up his life, he told Vader, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

And Obi-Wan did become more powerful because he was able to guide and help Luke even though he was dead. This is very much like Jesus. He died that we might follow his example and live more completely – and his Holy Spirit is still active and alive in all of us today.

But like the disciples after the death of Jesus, Luke was distraught over Obi-wan’s death. Obi-wan later came to him in a vision and told him to go to Dagobah to train under Yoda, Obi-wan’s Jedi Master. It is there that Luke learned the skills necessary to be at one with the Force.

Perhaps not by accident, the Force is quite similar to the Holy Spirit. It is active in the world and brings both peace and strength to those who place themselves in its presence. There is also a sense of balance to the Force. It involves all of life. In a similar way, Jesus spoke of the interconnectedness of God with humans when he said, “You will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.”

We never have to “go it alone.” God is as close as a tree, a person on the street, or our very own heart. Realizing this can bring great peace.

The Force Moves Stones – The Holy Spirit Moves Stony Hearts

In the gospel, Jesus told his disciples that when he was gone, God would send another Advocate to help them. He described this guide as “The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him.”

It is amazing how well Luke’s encounter with Yoda fits this description. When Luke met the little green Muppet, he thought him to be a nuisance. He was not able to see the wise Jedi master that lay beneath.

This is so true to life. We find it easy to neglect the people who we think deserve to be neglected. Surely, God would want nothing to do with them. That’s what people of Jesus’ time thought of the people of Samaria. Yet, the miracle in the First Reading today is that the disciples reached out to that community and shared with them the life and the love of Jesus Christ. It is when something like that happens that the Spirit is at work, changing hardened hearts to ones of acceptance and peace.

May The Force Be With You

As we enter this time of Pentecost, let us remember that God wants to be active in our lives. Let us remember that the Spirit works in mysterious ways and that God’s presence is found in all. In the Star Wars movies they say, “May the Force be with you.” Jesus told his disciples something similar. “But you know him, because he remains in you, and will be in you.”

Life Applications:

Where do you find it easiest to realize God’s presence? Where would you like to see His presence more clearly?
Who is someone in whom you don’t see God? What might you do to see God in this person?
In what ways might God be asking you to see things in your life differently?

Original article by Nick Popadich, 2002 – 2020.
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